Skip to content
U.S. Federal Government Spend on COVID-19 Response

U.S. Federal Government Spend on COVID-19 Response

Insights for Agency Leaders and Policy Makers

COVID-19 Response

Federal government spending priorities are rapidly evolving in response to COVID-19. From addressing supply chain bottlenecks to exploring additional sources of supply, federal agencies are encountering new challenges to mission execution as they navigate the complex landscape of COVID-19 relief and response efforts. In this series of reports, we provide analysis and insights based on the latest federal spend data to inform funding decisions by agency leaders and policymakers in order to mitigate mission delivery risk in response to COVID-19.

Summary of Report #4: March 13 – May 21

On March 13, the Office of Management and Budget introduced guidance stipulating that agencies must report COVID-19 spend within 2 weeks of issuance. A lag in reporting and the binary nature of the existing COVID-19 spending flag (which classifies an entire line item as COVID-19 related even if only a portion of the spend was directed toward COVID-19 response) present challenges in using the data to drive actionable, potentially life-saving insights. Given the urgency of the current crisis, there is an opportunity to improve data quality through real-time reporting and flexible reporting options.

Early spending in response to COVID-19 has been dominated by medical supply procurement by agencies on the front-line of the response to the crisis. Over time, spending related to COVID-19 is expected to increase across all agencies, especially as each agency executes the CARES Act.

Early Federal Government Spending in Response to COVID-19 Has Been Dominated by Medical Supply Procurement

As well, federal government spending priorities seem to be shifting given the evolving demands of the COVID-19 response, with a growth in spending in recent weeks on longer-term enablers such as construction, IT, and professional service support.

The federal government continues to rely on a few large vendors to meet immediate demand. The number of medical supply vendors has not kept pace with the surge in spending, posing a risk of bottlenecks in procuring essential medical supplies.

Growth in “Other” Spend Categories Indicates a Shift in Spending in Response to the Evolving Demands of the Coronavirus Crisis

While the government has engaged some small businesses in the early stages of the response, there is an opportunity to expand small business capacity and utilization to meet government needs.

We will continue monitoring the data and releasing periodic updates with additional analysis and findings.

For further information about the data and insights in this report, please contact:

Dr. Vinai Trichur (vtrichur@censeoconsulting.com)

Raj Sharma, CEO Public Spend Forum (raj@publicspendforum.net)

Clara Cecil (ccecil@censeoconsulting.com)

Download our Latest Reports

Summary #4 Covering the Period March 13, 2020 – May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020
Summary #4 Covering the Period March 13, 2020 – May 21, 2020
Report #3 Covering the Period March 13, 2020 – April 23, 2020
17 April, 2020
Report #3 Covering the Period March 13, 2020 – April 23, 2020
Report #2 Covering the Period March 13, 2020 – April 16, 2020
24 April, 2020
Report #2 Covering the Period March 13, 2020 – April 16, 2020
Government Acquisition in COVID-19 Crisis
10 April, 2020
Government Acquisition in COVID-19 Crisis
Show All Reports

Contact our COVID-19 Response Team to Mitigate Mission-Delivery Risks